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Biden at an event in Cedar Rapids the weekend before the Iowa caucuses. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), a friend and top surrogate for Joe Biden, said Sunday that if Bernie Sanders were the Democratic nominee, he'd have a "very difficult time" beating President Trump and pose a "serious" threat to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's ability to retain control of the House.

Why it matters: On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Biden surrogates are testing electability arguments against Sen. Sanders, the perceived front-runner there, while lowering expectations about how well the former vice president may do in the first contest in the nation.

  • Dodd, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders spoke with reporters at a roundtable hosted by Bloomberg News in Des Moines.

What they're saying:

  • "We view Iowa as the beginning, not the end," Symone Sanders said, calling the results in the first four contests — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — "four parts of one whole."
  • “This nominating contest will go well into Super Tuesday and beyond,” she said.
  • Dodd said many of Sanders' views are “not mainstream views of Democrats" and that Medicare for All is “a great mistake."
  • Dodd acknowledged Sanders' appeal to many younger voters by saying they respond to the passion of "absolutes" and "black-and-white" arguments more than other voters.
  • But Trump would have a "field day" running against socialism, and that would have repercussions down the ballot, Dodd said. "Nancy Pelosi does not want to become the minority leader in the House again," he said, adding that “in the long run, you’ve got to win on Nov. 3."

Between the lines: Sanders is drawing the crowds and the money, and he has risen to the top spot in the Iowa Democratic polling average tracked by RealClearPolitics. With less than 48 hours to go, a highly anticipated Des Moines Register poll with CNN was pulled at the last minute Saturday night because of concerns about the administering of the questions.

Go deeper: Sanders snatches attention lead from Biden ahead of Iowa

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.